What The World Needs Now IS For This Judy Blume Book to Come to Life

“Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” The Movie Is Coming — and Millions of MidLife Women Are Here For It

Erin Mantz, Gen X Girls Grow Up
3 min readJan 30, 2023

The first time I read “Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret” I was eleven — just like Margaret — and it was 1981. I devoured the purple-covered paperback during my first week at sleepaway camp, with a flashlight under the covers after lights-out time. The air was hot and heavy with the July Michigan heat, the equally heavy weight of my homesickness, and my general pre-teen angst. Fitting in, figuring out friendships, and anxiously waiting for everything, “Are You There God? It’s Me,” Margaret helped me, and millions of girls, feel less alone while growing up. Margaret had me at the first chapter! I felt like I knew her and pictured her in my mind. Fast forward decades and decades, and now I’m grown up, and Margaret is still eleven, but is becoming real!

Millions of Gen X girls like me are anxiously awaiting “Are You There, God, It’s Me, Margaret” the movie, being released by Lionsgate on April 28. And talk about a heavy weight to carry! What a weight of the world adorable 14-year-old actress Abby Ryder Fortson has on her shoulders, in the starring role of Margaret. From the trailer alone, I think the casting is perfect. It looks like Abby will be more than up to the task. Her expressions, her words, her voice, her 1970s outfits…she seems like just the right fit!

Written by the iconic and beloved author Judy Blume, the book followed Margaret, a sixth-grade girl trying to navigate “typical” life challenges that actually don’t change much across generations — puberty, family, fitting in, crushes, moving and religion. These are tough times, being eleven. But you know what? So are these middle age years my friends and I are in. It’s almost refreshing to think about our eleven-year-old problems, and look back to realize we survived those days.

The book came out in 1970 — the year I was born — and has legions of devoted fans. I’ve heard from many Gen X girls that remember exactly where they were when they read the book — and many had that one with the purple cover. In a world that seems to have gone insane since we were Margaret’s age, it’s almost comforting to know “Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret” is coming to the big screen — that some things about growing up never did change with the times. In my Gen X Girls Grow Up Facebook community of 33,000, women who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s are chiming in regardless of where they’re from — from small towns in Indiana to coastal California, from Chicago neighborhoods to Connecticut suburbs. Some were girls who had to sneak the book into the house, while others got it from their moms or older sisters. Some daughters of divorce stuffed it into their duffel bags every other weekend to their dad’s house, and some read it alone in their bedrooms. But we ALL remember it well.

I have no doubt that seeing those pivotal pre-teen years come alive on the big screen will help us recapture our youth for a few hours. Whether we are ready to come back to our midlife lives when the last scene fades to black remain to be seen.

I have a feeling, after waiting decades, that the film gets it right, and that we Judy Blume fans will know what “right” is when we see it. I want to believe in Margaret and that something has remained timeliness and true. In a world where so much changes, “Margaret” may be Generation X’s one last — and lasting — pop culture hope.

You can watch the trailer here!

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Erin Mantz, Gen X Girls Grow Up

Erin is the Founder of Gen X Girls Grow Up - @GenXBlog on Facebook. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, Slate, Huff Post, and more.